Sunday, 30 June 2013

Photo Scavenger Hunt: June

As always joining in with Greenthumb from Made with Love on the monthly Scavenger Hunt. I really enjoyed gathering this month's selection and, as most of them were taken on day trips (work and pleasure), it's been a great reminder of being out and about. Hope you enjoy them too.

Purple : a colleague's hair!

Sixty : 60p

Little : Miniature railway at Moss Bank Park, Bolton. We had great fun riding on this!

Eyes : Peacock at at Moss Bank Park, Bolton

Animal : Squirrel. Oops, I've been spotted!

Architectural detail : Smithills Hall

Ring : Ring pull on a tin can.

Light : Victoria Arcade, Leeds.

Rooftops : Whitby, North Yorkshire.

Ice cream : Chocolate dipped cone with vanilla and mint choc chip ice cream, strawberry syrup and a flake.

Tombstone : In a local cemetery.

Art : On the side of a building in Preston


It's been a busy couple of weeks with both personal and work-related things so I'm just starting to catch up with some blogging and all of your posts. Back soon to bore you rigid with lots of photos from our holiday to Whitby :) Plus, I also want to show you more of those gorgeous peacocks. x

Monday, 17 June 2013

Baby birds

Yesterday, after visiting Dad to wish him a 'Happy Father's Day', I decided to go for a walk along the path at the side of the golf course. It's the same path I wrote about back in May but the vegetation has grown a lot since. There was masses of cow parsley frothing at the side of the path.

Looking very lovely against the darkening sky. Thankfully these clouds just wandered by and the sun came out as I carried on.

Armed with some small binoculars, I was hoping to see the long-tailed tits again but would have been happy to see any kind of feathers. There was a lot of bird song and the odd glimpse of something fluttering over on the far side of the field but nothing near the path. I'm sure birds wait for you to pass then quickly dash by behind your back.

Eventually, I headed up off the path into a wilder, grassier area with shrubs and trees and was rewarded with a blue tit dancing around.

These pretty clumps of comfrey were dotted amongst the grasses and buttercups. The bird song was also getting closer so I sat down and quietly waited. Before long I spotted a bird continually darting in and out of a small bush a few feet away.

I soon realised she was feeding a fledgling.

But no, not just one fledgling, a whole bush of them.


I sat for ages in the sunshine watching the mother feed her brood, smiling in delight as they huddled together, dozing off in the warmth. So cute! I really just couldn't believe my luck and only reluctantly dragged myself away to go home to make tea.

I wasn't sure what kind of birds they were but, after poring over a couple of fairly blurry shots of the mum, I  reckon they were willow warblers - I'm sure Louise will correct me if I'm wrong :)

The photo of the iris wasn't taken on the walk but down by the lake.

We had Chickpea's boyfriend staying with us all last week, so I have a mournful daughter this evening as he went home today. At the weekend they went out around town in the evening with some friends. Usually I go to collect them but decided to give them taxi money instead as I was really tired after a busy week at work and didn't want to stay up late. I needn't have bothered because I tossed and turned and couldn't settle. Of course, the moment I heard them come through the front door at 1.45 I immediately fell asleep.

In other news, we're going on holiday! Only for a couple of days but I'm so excited. Our destination is Whitby which lots of people tell me is a lovely place to visit. It will also be our first ever time on the east coast so I can hardly wait. This time next week we'll be there!

OK, time to go. I've started a new crochet project and want to make a little progress before bed. Thank you for all so much for your lovely comments about my quilts. Until next time. x

Thursday, 13 June 2013

First quilt, best quilt

Yesterday my quilt group held a charity evening and, as part of it, we had a 'first quilt, last quilt' session. I'd immediately put my hand up to volunteer but only later realised that I would be in London with work and wouldn't be back in time. To overcome some of the guilt of not being there, I thought I'd show my quilts here instead. However, as you've already seen my last quilt, I'm going to show you my best quilt.

To start though, here's my very first quilt made in about 1991.

Shades of Night was a pattern by Angela Haigh from Needlecraft magazine, which has long since ceased publication. All of the fabrics in the sky were part of a charm pack. I used the rest to make a simple throw of squares which has been on the back of the armchair every day since it was made, and therefore counts as my most used quilt. Both of them are very sparingly quilted (understatement) as I was more interested in the patchwork at that point (and still am really).

As for my best quilt, I think it's Bears in Clover which was started in 2000 and finished 2 years later - I was a much faster quilter in those days! The name comes from the bear's paw pattern of the centre blocks and the clover quilting pattern around them.

The overall design is my own but I used elements from several issues of Quilters Newsletter Magazine to put it together.

The bear's paw blocks are all machine-pieced whilst the flower border is hand appliqued. All the quilting is by hand too.

In the corners I used this birds and heart design and a lily.

Ta-dah! If not my best quilt, it's definitely the one I'm most proud of and it's in regular use on my bed.

Having used so many elements from Quilters Newsletter Magazine, I decided to submit a photo
for the Readers section, and was absolutely thrilled when it appeared a few issues later.

I hope you enjoyed a look at a couple of my quilts and that it makes up for the lack of crafting activity on this blog at the moment. With the recent gorgeous weather and lighter evenings I've been tending to spend more time outside so all of my projects have ground to a halt. I've got a couple of weeks off soon though so am hoping to crack on with a few.


I mentioned at the beginning that I had to go to London with work yesterday. The worst part was getting up at 4.30 for the early train (and getting home at 9pm) and feeling tired the whole day. The best part was having a couple of hours free before my train home and spending them in the British Museum.  I chose carefully and went to see the Sutton Hoo exhibits, the Lewis Chessmen, the Dunstable Swan Jewel, and the Rosetta Stone. Definitely somewhere to visit again.

Today I had a day off, knowing I'd probably still be tired from the long day yesterday, and spent it with my friend, Sue. She loves mooching around charity shops so that's what we did. My only purchase was a jar of glass pebbles which I plan to use in my glass cylinder vase to make a summer display. When I finally get around to it, you'll be the first to know!

Monday, 10 June 2013

At the park

When we visited Smithills Hall last weekend, we'd intended to visit a nearby park but just didn't have the time. I'm so glad we decided to go back yesterday because we discovered a great place to visit in future and had a lovely time.

Moss Bank Park is just to the north of Bolton town centre and there's lots to see and do. When we got there just after 11, it was still quite quiet but it got busier as the day wore on. It never felt crowded though because of the large open spaces.

We couldn't resist having a go on the playground. OK, couldn't resist having a go. Yes, my legs are almost as white as my bag!

Chickpea did join me on the see-saw though.

After the playground, we headed to Animal World which has a bargain 50p entrance fee. The first part is a butterfly house where there were some real beauties fluttering around.

I think these were owl moths.

In the animal section, there were a few small farm/pet animals to look at like rabbits, guinea pigs and this pygmy goat.

And lots of chipmunks. We could have watched these for hours.

Lots of birds too.

And chickens.

And exotic pheasanty looking things.

After the birds and animals it was time for a picnic, and to sit back, enjoy the sunshine and watch the world go by. We really don't do this enough.

Suitably refreshed and with an ice cream in hand, we headed out of the park towards the adjacent village of Barrow Bridge which is part of a conservation area. These houses were formerly the homes of the mill managers.

In front of them is a fairly fast-flowing stream.

Further up the road are the 'famous' 63 steps which workers used to climb every day on their way to the mines and quarries on Winter Hill. You can follow footpaths right up onto the moors but Chickpea was waiting for me at the bottom so I headed back down.

One last look at the animals and the park and it was time for home, full of fresh air and sunshine. As we were leaving we noticed a sign with a map of the park and realised that we'd missed seeing at least half of the gardens. Definitely somewhere we'll be going back to. x

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Poppy love

I've been absolutely in love with my poppy this week as it finally came into flower. The neighbours must be thinking I'm a bit odd as I've been taking endless amounts of photos and gazing at it adoringly. Seriously, you got off lightly with only six photos! 


There was a flower of a different kind at Mum and Dad's: clematis 'Nelly Moser'. The sun seems to be bringing an explosion of colour everywhere.

Yesterday, after housework was finished, I got out my bike and went off in search of some photos for this month's scavenger hunt. It's the first time I've been on it since last summer and, boy, did my thighs feel the burn!

Hope you've had a great weekend and made the most of the glorious weather. I'll be back tomorrow with photos from our adventures today. x